I Totally Spaced On Dying Today

I am on occasion forgetful, but you think I’d remember to do something really important, like die in a giant tsunami.

I have received information psychically, which is corroborated by scientific data, according to which on May 25, 2006 a giant tsunami will occur in the Atlantic Ocean, brought about by the impact of a comet fragment which will provoke the eruption of under-sea volcanoes. Waves up to 200 m high will reach coastlines located above and below the Tropic of Cancer.

Hmmm…well, all coastlines are either above or below the Tropic of Cancer. And a 200 meter wave would completely engulf Washington, DC. So I can’t believe I spaced on that!

According to informed sources, contacts in the American intelligence services confirm the existence of a time window of 48 hours, centered on May 25th at midnight GMT, for the impact a comet fragment south of the Azores.

This corroborates information of an evacuation exercise of the U.S. Congress to occur later in the day of May 25th, information which reached us this morning.

Er…didn’t make the papers. And since 24 hours before and after midnight May 25th GMT (totalling 48) have already passed, I’d say the most unusually–and, might I add, commendably–specific psychic prediction I’ve ever seen does not seem to have borne out.

Best of luck next time, guys! I’m sure the psychic thing will eventually be proved, probably 1e200000 years from now. On May 25. Around tea-time.

Animal Sounds

I have periodically enjoyed asking people what sounds animals make in various languages. Not the animals themselves; the way we imitate them. They aren’t the same. For example, in Russian, dogs go “guff guff guff.” Don’t ask me where they get the “g” from, but they put it in all kinds of places. The composer “Gandel” for example.

Now someone’s assembled a table of them. [Via Cute Overload]

How to Make the Post Office Less Enjoyable

So, what ways could we think of to make the experience of going to the post office less enjoyable? I have to vote for a customer bringing a screaming baby in and proceeding to ignore it while using the postal counter to do a few week’s worth of bill paying, fiddling with mail, and, yes, sorting through your snapshots, all while ignoring the continuous screaming of your baby.

Yep, that ought to do it.

Aid Can Be Tricky

CNN has a very interesting Reuters story demonstrating how poorly-targeted aid can hurt some while helping others.

A year and a half ago, terrorists took a school in Beslan, Russia, and and killed many of the students and teachers. More were killed in the crossfire when troops went in to rescue the hostages. Little Sveta Dzieva heard the gunshots and ran, saving her own life. But the shock — 186 of her classmates were killed — struck her mute for a month. Going to Moscow for treatment cost her mother, Albina, her job and their apartment. Ironically, a lot of aid from Russia and elsewhere poured into Beslan and made it harder on the Dzievas. Why? Because Sveta wasn’t killed or physically injured.

Sveta, her mother, and her brothers now live in a shack in a neighboring village. Why can’t they go back to Beslan?

Officials say the money — 1.45 billion rubles in the first year after the attack — has split many families in the poor North Ossetia region as they argue over how to share it. Albina said it had split the community as well. Those who received compensation had driven prices up, pushing those without compensation even further into poverty in a region where many already struggle to make ends meet.

“You can’t even rent an apartment any more. The owners now ask for a year in advance, and the prices have gone up so I can’t pay anyway,” said Albina.

Money isn’t wealth: just pouring money into the hands of victims means the prices for scarce supplies will increase. It’s worse in this case because the money is a one-time deal. Aid will slow and stop as memory of the tragedy fades. So no one will risk new construction to house those forced out by inflation. Unless some other source of wealth comes into town, my guess is prices will eventually fall, but not before a lot of harm is done to people like Sveta and her family.

Is the Problem Really Unskilled Immigrants?

So people are all upset at these illegal immigrants coming in, and they think the dirty, smelly, uneducated (*cough*brown*cough*) ones are the problem, even if economists disagree that they’re a problem. But while the polite Canadian or German immigrant may be a more grokkable neighbor to you…do you really want high-skilled legal or illegal immigrants?

Mexican day-laborers are not going to be competing for your white-collar job, but those highly-educated ones will. Remember a while back when we were all freaking out about H1-B visas and Indian programmers coming in to “take ahr jarbs”? An increase in the supply of any product drives the price of that product down, whether the supply has brown or white skin. So just because Germans aren’t used to living in third world conditions for the privilege of programming doesn’t mean they won’t drive down the average salary of a programmer.

So before you say you’re “pro-immigration, but we can’t we get those highly-skilled valuable immigrants instead of more dishwashers,” you might want to think about the consequences of that statement.

For extra credit, figure out why both arguments are full of crap, even though the income effect might be measurable and real, and why I don’t support more restrictions on high- or low-skilled laborers.

Let’s See If We Can Spot the Fake Libertarian

Neo-nazi posing as a “Christian Libertarian“:

And he will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: “Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it’s just not going to work.”

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society.

Hmm…though mere deportation seems like a partial solution. What’s your Final Solution, there, assmunch?

Here’s a hint for those confused by this whole “libertarian” thing: if your favorite policy solution is reinforced by how well it worked in the Holocaust, you’re not a libertarian.

OK, So Just Checking…

So we all know tonight’s performance was a crock of shit from just about every side, right? There is no immigration “crisis”, nor are the National Guard going to do a damned thing, nor does this have anything to do with national security. This has everything to do with hating people darker than oneself and using that for electoral advantage, since nobody new has caught teh Gay since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy stopped airing new episodes.

So we are going to prosecute the hardest-working part of our population to satisfy a bunch of drunk old social-security-collecting welfare queens and their ex-wives. Because illegals are a drain on our taxes. Or possibly Manuel has been talking about unionizing again.

And Democrats take the heroic stand that they’ll…marginally…change…something…but otherwise, they’re pretty much on board. I guess since Nannygate they’ve been jealous that Republicans have been getting the cheap domestic help.

Wow, That’s Some Snark!

Sure, I’m sarcastic. But even I have trouble achieving the Snark Per Paragraph ratio of the Sploid post entitled “Clinton Bows to Father Bush“:

The Bush-Clinton dynasty laughed in the face of “Democrats” and “Republicans” again this weekend when ex-president Bill Clinton bowed before ex-president George H.W. Bush at a ceremony in New Orleans — where so many died because of Washington’s criminal “ineptitude.”

“Life’s like that,” Clinton told the graduates at Tulane University.

Later, a television lesbian invited the students to laugh at their problems.